I'm are what I'm are: The acquisition of first-person singular present BE
Cameron-Faulkner, T., & Kidd, E.
I'm are what I'm are: The acquisition of first-person singular present BE. Cognitive Linguistics, 18
(1), 1-22. doi:10.1515/COG.2007.001.
The present study investigates the development of am in the speech of one English-speaking child, Scarlett (aged 4;6–5;6). We show that am is infrequent in the speech addressed to children; the acquisition of this form of BE presents a unique insight into the processes underlying language development because children have little evidence regarding its correct use. Scarlett produced a pervasive error where she overextended are to first-person singular contexts where am was required (e.g., I'm are trying, When are I'm finished?). Am gradually emerged in her speech on what appears to be a construction-specific basis. The findings of the study are used in support of a usage-based, constructivisit approach to language development.